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Animation Features Live Action Movies

Hundreds
of Beavers

Director – Mike Cheslik – 2022 – US – Cert. 12 – 108m

***1/2

A ruined drinks purveyor reduced to hunting beavers (played by actors in onesies) attempts to kill the amount required to buy a trader’s daughter’s hand in marriage – visually astonishing slapstick comedy is out in UK and Ireland cinemas on Tuesday, July 9th

Opening with what is essentially a music video extolling the bibulous virtues of the booming, farm home of Jean Kayak’s Acme Applejack, this shows a simplistic caricature of a prosperous nineteenth century business when the wooden supports of one of Kayak’s gigantic barrels of beverage is nibbled by a beaver causing it to roll down a hill on which it’s situated into his house at the bottom of the hill, causing it to burn down his hillside apple orchard.

Leaving aside such questions as, why store the huge barrel on top of a hill above your house? – the answer, so it can roll down a hill, catch fire and burn down your orchard to get the plot going, proving less than satisfactory – this leaves the ruined Jean Kayak (co-writer Ryland Brickson Cole Tews) homeless in midwinter and forced to survive by hunting animals.… Read the rest

Categories
Features Live Action Movies

The White Ribbon
(Das Weiße Band)

Director – Michael Haneke – 2009 – Germany – Cert. 15 – 144m

Reviewed for Third Way magazine to coincide with UK release date 13/11/2009.

Haneke’s first period drama for the big screen is set in 1913-14 in a Northern German Protestant village where strange accidents befall the community. A doctor (Rainer Bock), out riding a regular route, is brought down and injured by a wire between two trees. The wife of a farm labourer is killed when factory floorboards give way beneath her. Children are abducted. A baby’s window is left open in Midwinter. A building burns. But who is – or are – responsible?

The film sets out its cast of characters in terms of the social hierarchy. The landowning classes are represented by the local Baron (Ulrich Tukur), his wife (Ursina Lardi) and their child; the professional classes by a widowed doctor, the midwife (Susanne Lothar) “who has made herself useful to him”, the Baron’s steward (Josef Bierbichler), the village Pastor (Burghart Klaussner) and the local teacher (Christian Friedel) – also as an old man the narrator (Ernst Jacobi) – who is courting the nanny of the Baron’s son; the working classes by numerous agricultural labourers who generally feature less prominently in the story.… Read the rest